GOD’S UNREASONABLE LOVE

Rom.5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God loves us, and yes, God loves you not because of anything you have done or can do for Him, but He loves you despite everything you have done. In other words He loves you no matter what because that is Who He is. ‘God is love’ as the Apostle John declared. His love is not conditional it is totally based on Him and not on you. He died for drug dealers, gang bangers, rock stars, street dwellers, opium smokers, prostitutes, and housewives and business people. He gave His life for students, contractors, presidents and prisoners. In other words His love makes no sense, He loves us anyway. Here is a quote from David Jeremiah on what he calls unreasonable love.

“It is possible to consider—it is reasonable, though something of a stretch—that someone might be willing to die for a good person. In Charles Dickens’s novel A Tale of Two Cities, we see this kind of noble sacrifice fictionally demonstrated when the British barrister Sydney Carton willingly goes to the guillotine in the place of Charles Darnay. Carton’s sacrifice seems “reasonable” because he has led a somewhat dissipated life and has little to live for, while the falsely accused Darnay is a man of great honor, courage, and virtue. In an extreme case and under certain dire circumstances and for an exceptionally good person, you or I might possibly find it in our hearts to make such a sacrifice. But for the vilest of criminals, a person who had made no contribution to society, and who seemed to delight in being an enemy of all that is good and right—would you die for that person? Your answer would probably be a quick and unmitigated “Hardly!” And that’s a perfectly reasonable answer.”

God’s love seen clearly in His only Son, Jesus of Nazareth, is what stopped me in my tracks. Someone shared the cliche with me, “Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life”. The words were not cliche or trivial to me, they were the most powerful words I had ever heard. Somehow the very love of God was encompassed in those words and penetrated my cold, callous heart. His love was unreasonable, there was no reason that He should love me. That is exactly what won my heart.

Effected by Love

Rom. 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

We are all effected by the things we experience everyday. We are effected by kisses and hugs, and encouragement; the acts of endearment can carry us far in our daily grind. Being accepted and loved is a huge factor in our ability to be effective from day to day. But there is a totally different kind of love that goes way beyond what human encouragement can afford us. What might that be? Why it is the love of God of course. His love is lavishly poured on us through the refreshing and renewing of the Holy Spirit. When you experience His words of encouragement, His hugs that hold us tight and close in the darkest of days, and His kisses that will catch us totally off guard; then you will really know what it means to be loved. This love will arrest you, satisfy you, heal and deliver you, empower you, and change you into a different kind of person. Adam Clarke talks about this love in his comments on today’s verse.

“We have the most solid and convincing testimony of God’s love to us, by that measure of it which he has communicated to our hearts. It is poured out, and diffused abroad; filling, quickening, and invigorating all our powers and faculties. This love is the spring of all our actions; it is the motive of our obedience; the principle through which we love God, we love him because he first loved us; and we love him with a love worthy of himself, because it springs from him: it is his own; and every flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire must be pleasing in his sight: it consumes what is unholy; refines every passion and appetite; sublimes the whole, and assimilates all to itself. And we know that this is the love of God; it differs widely from all that is earthly and sensual.”

So have you been stopped in your tracks by love recently? Have you awakened to His kisses in the morning or been held close when the storms of life begin to encircle you? This love is not a just a doctrine but it is very real. It was demonstrated at the cross and poured on us today by the precious Holy Spirit. Stop for a moment and look to the Lord for true love. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. You too can be enveloped in His arms of love.

LOVE SMACKED

Rom.5:5 – Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by love? I can’t ever forget (or stop talking about) the first time for me. Those who know me know what’s coming next. I was watching the movie “JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR” back in August of 1973 when I was stopped dead by love. I had never seen Christ like this before. Somehow while watching that controversial film the Holy Spirit began to pour great big buckets of love on me. The results were dramatic. Repentance was the result and an incredible desire to read about Jesus and follow Him had captured my heart. Jonathan Edwards describes this love, check this out.

“Love is in God as light is in the sun, which does not shine by a reflected light as the moon and planets do; but by his own light, and as the fountain of light. And love flows out from him towards all the inhabitants of heaven. It flows out in the first place and infinitely towards his only begotten Son, being poured forth without measure, as to an object which is infinite, and so fully adequate to God’s love in its fountain. Infinite love is infinitely exercised towards him. The fountain does not only send forth large streams towards this object as it does to every other, but the very fountain itself wholly and altogether goes out towards him…..The infinite essential love of God is, as it were, an infinite and eternal mutual holy energy between the Father and the Son, a pure, holy act whereby the Deity becomes nothing but an infinite and unchangeable act of love, which proceed from both the Father and the Son.”

I guess in retrospect I got caught up in God’s love storm that night. The Father’s infinite love for His Son, Jesus, fell on me. How is that possible? I believed in His sacrificial death that night, I saw His death as His supreme act of love toward me. As a result, my sins were forgiven and I was clothed with His righteousness. In other words all the Father could see when He looked at me was His Son Jesus. So I got love smacked by the Father’s infinite love for His Son. The most amazing thing, that was forty six years ago this month and I am still smitten.

SAVED – SAVED – SAVED

Rom.5:10 – For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Are you saved? That question may be hard to answer because we may not be sure what the person asking the question really means. In one sense I got saved in 1973 when Christ arrested me on the lakefront in New Orleans and I opened my heart to His love. You could also say I am being saved. The work of salvation, making us completely whole and holy, began when we first called upon the Lord. That work is truly a work in progress. His life in us is continually saving us. Another thought is that we will be saved on that great day when Christ returns. Then, and only then, will our salvation be complete. We will be like Him the moment we see Him. Here is how this phenomenon is described in the Wuest wordbook.

“The word “life” here is zōē, “the life principle.” The comparison is with death. Our Lord said to His disciples, “Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more,” referring to His death; “but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also,” referring to His life in resurrection power. That is, in virtue of the fact that our Lord lives after death, He is able to save us completely and to the end. Salvation is in three parts, justification, the removal of the guilt and penalty of sin and the bestowal of a righteous standing in Christ before God’s law, which is given to us at the moment of believing; sanctification, the progressive work of the Holy Spirit during the Christian life; and glorification, the glorifying of our bodies at the Rapture. It is of the latter two Paul is speaking, since he is writing in a context of justification.”

So what is Paul getting at in this passage? I think the critical word is saved, sozo, which is a beautiful New Testament word. Sozo is describing salvation for the whole man. When we were “saved”, we got way more than just a ticket to heaven when we die. The Lord began to do a work in us by His indwelling Spirit. We are being daily changed, or saved, as we yield to the Lord. How are we being changed? We are being conformed into the image of Jesus.

UTTERLY HELPLESS

Rom.5:6 – When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

I wonder who really believes this verse? I wonder if you believe this verse? Utterly helpless; really? Have you thought of yourself as utterly helpless. These are the ones Christ died for, those who have no way to ever help themselves out of their dilemma. Several people come to my mind when I think of this verse. First, The demonized man in the cemetery in Gadara. Why would they chain this man up in the cemetery? Obviously he was left there to die. His life was over, he had no hope. That is until Jesus stepped off of His boat and onto the shore. “Come out of him”, Jesus cried. The foul, dark spirits came out and that man began a new life. What about Lazarus? He was pretty helpless, rotting in his tomb. Jesus stood outside of Lazarus tomb and cried, “Lazarus, come out!”. In a moment, Lazarus was hopping out of the dark cave into the glorious light of a brand new life.

If you think about it, all of us are utterly helpless. We are born in a state of sin, separated from God, with no way to save ourselves. Sin has dominated and destroyed us and we were perishing until we too heard the cry of Jesus’s voice, “Come out of darkness, step into the light”. Here is how Adam Clarke described this powerful verse.

“They were without strength; in a weak, dying state: neither able to resist sin, nor do any good: utterly devoid of power to extricate themselves from the misery of their situation.

They were ungodly; without either the worship or knowledge of the true God; they had not God in them; and, consequently, were not partakers of the Divine nature: Satan lived in, ruled, and enslaved their hearts. They were sinners, aiming at happiness, but constantly missing… And in missing the mark, they deviated from the right way; walked in the wrong way; trespassed in thus deviating; and, by breaking the commandments of God, not only missed the mark of felicity, but exposed themselves to everlasting misery.”

Yes, we were all aiming for happiness but happiness escaped our grasp. We had no way to come out of misery, we were utterly helpless until… Until the day He called our name. Christ died to save sinners. His help is available when you realize you need Him desperately.

HE LOVES US

Rom.5:3-5 – And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

This is the game changer, this is what changed everything for me and continues to change everything. He loves me. Not because of me or anything I bring to the table, it’s because of Him. He chooses to love me and all the other unlovelies He calls His own. That’s what grabbed my attention the day I was converted, His love and forgiveness extended to me in my miserable, rebellious condition. I was literally stopped in my tracks. The more I read the gospels the more I was completely won over. The finishing volley? The baptism in the Spirit totally finished me off. To me it was a total immersion into a substance only describable as liquid love. He loves me, He loves you; nothing else really matters. Here is how R C Sproul describes this passage.

“Here Paul is not talking about our love for God; he is talking about God’s love for us. The love of God is a love that the Holy Spirit sheds abroad. God’s love for the justified is no mere feeling; neither are the gifts that God gives us or the benefits that he pours upon us. It is God’s affection that God puts inside of us, his love for us. That is what fuels our hope and gives us confidence that we will not be ashamed. It is what enables us to persevere and endure tribulations and afflictions. The love God pours out is no small portion; it is an outpouring of divine love, lavished upon us.”

This love is what attracts us, this same love is what keeps us. When everything seems to be caving in and you are not sure what is going on in your life, His love is sufficient. He will keep you in the darkest night with His love. When morning dawns you will be stronger than before, strengthened by His love. So whatever you have done in your past and no matter who has hurt or betrayed you, God’s love for you is consistent and relentless. He will not give up until you are resting in His love.

Effected by Love

tamara-menzi-58748.jpgRom. 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

We are all effected by the things we experience everyday. We are effected by kisses and hugs, and encouragement; the acts of endearment can carry us far in our daily grind. Being accepted and loved is a huge factor in our ability to be effective from day to day. But there is a totally different kind of love that goes way beyond what human encouragement can afford us. What might that be? Why it is the love of God of course. His love is lavishly poured on us through the refreshing and renewing of the Holy Spirit. When you experience His words of encouragement, His hugs that hold us tight and close in the darkest of days, and His kisses that will catch us totally off guard; then you will really know what it means to be loved. This love will arrest you, satisfy you, heal and deliver you, empower you, and change you into a different kind of person. Adam Clarke talks about this love in his comments on today’s verse.

“We have the most solid and convincing testimony of God’s love to us, by that measure of it which he has communicated to our hearts. It is poured out, and diffused abroad; filling, quickening, and invigorating all our powers and faculties. This love is the spring of all our actions; it is the motive of our obedience; the principle through which we love God, we love him because he first loved us; and we love him with a love worthy of himself, because it springs from him: it is his own; and every flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire must be pleasing in his sight: it consumes what is unholy; refines every passion and appetite; sublimes the whole, and assimilates all to itself. And we know that this is the love of God; it differs widely from all that is earthly and sensual.”
So have you been stopped in your tracks by love recently? Have you awakened to His kisses in the morning or been held close when the storms of life begin to encircle you? This love is not a just a doctrine but it is very real. It was demonstrated at the cross and poured on us today by the precious Holy Spirit. Stop for a moment and look to the Lord for true love. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. You too can be enveloped in His arms of love.

ALL GOD

hugues-de-buyer-mimeure-321544.jpg

The love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost which was given unto us. Romans 5:5

I often joke about how there have always been more women in church than men. It has been that way since the first resurrection morn when the women ran with the message of His resurrection from the garden tomb. It seems that the heart of the Christian message is about receiving rather than doing, women seem to be more prone to that receiving mentality. Everything that we have of value is something we have received. We have received forgiveness of sins, the new birth, deliverance from the power of sin, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and an internal inheritance which is Christ Himself. None of these things originate or come from our own efforts; all of it is by grace, it is all the work of God. Here is how Watchman Nee describes everything we have received.
“Because the Lord Jesus died on the cross, I have received forgiveness of sins; because He rose from the dead, I have received new life; because He has been exalted to the right hand of the Father, I have received the gift of the Spirit. All is because of Him; nothing is because of me. Remission of sins is not based on my merit but on His crucifixion, regeneration is not based on my merit but on His resurrection, and the enduement with the Holy Spirit is not based on my merit but on His exaltation. The Holy Spirit has been given to you and me both to be the evidence that God’s Son is in the glory and, by the power of divine love, to lead us there. By His witness we know that Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified by wicked men nearly two thousand years ago, did not just die a martyr’s death but is exalted for us at the Father’s right hand in glory. Hallelujah!”
So everything Christ did and is doing was for His glory and our benefit. Today, He is our Advocate before the Father, representing us as a man. He is our heavenly Intercessor who opens heaven up for us and saves us to the uttermost. He is our Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. Out from Him flows a River of blessing that is beyond our words. So, let’s humble ourselves and recognize everything we have worth receiving is all God. Stepping out of the doing mentality into the receiving mode will change everything.

LOVE POURED OUT

saleh-ahmad-320319.jpgAnd hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his
love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Rom.5:5

The love of God is not a concept or even an emotional experience, God’s love is a person. Just as the revelation of God’s thoughts or words are expressed in the person Jesus Christ, God’s love is so powerful that it too is expressed in a distinct person, the wonderful Holy Spirit. Every time we are drawn into the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit we are engulfed, swallowed up, in the love of God. His presence is all consuming and more powerful and real than any earthly encounter. Often times our response when we are baptized in this love is to be filled to overflowing with joy. Think about it, even natural love evokes joy in our hearts, how much more will supernatural love cause us to burst with joy. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on the relationship between God’s love and the Holy Spirit.
“God the Father pours out the Holy Spirit into your heart, and the Holy Spirit pours out God’s love into your heart. As surely as God gives His Spirit, He will also bestow His love. Why do we so seldom experience this truth? Simply because we do not believe. It takes time to believe in the mighty work of the Holy Spirit, through whom we are filled with the love of God. We need time to withdraw from the world and its interests, time to revel in the love of God so that His great love can take possession of us. If we believe in the great love of God and its power, we will receive what we ask. God wants you to love Him with your whole heart and with all your strength. He knows your shortcomings. That is why He gave you His Spirit, who knows about the deep secrets of eternal love with which He desires to fill you.”
Jesus said that the first commandment is to love God with all your heart. This is only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit in our souls. The first evidence of someone being filled with the Spirit is an extreme attraction and love for God. Falling in love with the Lord is a sure sign that you have encountered the touch of the Spirit. So go ahead, me filled with the Spirit; before you know it you too will be consumed by His love.

SAVED BY HIS LIFE

aleksandar-vacic-291.jpgRom. 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Are you saved? That term may set off different feelings and meanings depending on the history of the hearer. I remember learning a whole new lingo when I first became a Christian. “Saved” was one of those new words that became part of my vocabulary. It’s not really important what others say this word means, what does the Bible mean when the word saved is used? What does it mean in today’s verse. Vine’s Word Book gives us some insight to the Bible meaning of this word.
VINE’S
(a) of material and temporal deliverance from danger, suffering; from sickness, “made… whole”

(b) of the spiritual and eternal salvation granted immediately by God to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,

(c) of the present experiences of God’s power to deliver from the bondage of sin
The way this word is used in the Bible brings the word saved into greater clarity. Salvation includes my physical circumstances; things like poverty, danger, and disease. Salvation also includes my spiritual condition, being brought into a living relationship with God that will last into eternity. Saved also involves being delivered from the bondage of sin and sinful behavior in this life. Salvation deals with my whole life and my present and eternal existence.

Today’s verse also brings out the source of the power of this salvation. Here is how the ESV Study Bible describes it.
“Since Christians are now reconciled to God through Christ’s death, they can be assured that they will be saved on the day to come (here “saved,” Gk. sōzō, includes not only justification at the start of the Christian life but also completed sanctification, glorification, freedom from final condemnation, and future rewards). But here the salvation is based on his life. The reference is to Christ’s resurrection, showing that both the death and resurrection of Christ are necessary for salvation.”
We are saved by the unlimited power of God through the death of Christ and His resurrection from the dead. The same power that raised Christ from the dead has saved us, is saving us, and will save us at His coming. What an amazing verse, I was once an enemy of God but now I have been reconciled and have entered the process of total and complete salvation.